Sometimes The Bachelorette just really delivers.
This has been a season full of ups and downs and moments we just didn't even know what to do with, but tonight was a roller coaster ride unlike any other. We got four dates (or three and a half), an unrequited declaration of love, a whole boatload of chemistry, an unexpected amount of vulnerability, a bit of nudity, and an outrageous display of bravado from a rich Harvard grad and a former mustachioed 25-year-old.
We were entertained from start to finish, and we can't say that about every other episode this season.
First, Tayshia and Zac went on a wedding photoshoot date.
It sent Tayshia into a bit of a panic since she's been married before and it didn't end well, but it turned out that Zac had also been married before and his marriage also didn't end well. He and Tayshia bonded quickly and became very cute indeed.
Then, 10 of the 12 remaining guys were invited on a group date where they had to make art. This involved sketching a naked couple, creating a sculpture out of clay and making a self portrait. Tayshia wanted those self portraits to get deep and boy did they. Riley opened up about his mother abandoning him. Brendan made a picture frame that he turned from portrait to landscape to make room for the love of his life. Ivan opened up about his fear of losing his dad. Blake (after making a penis out of clay) drew himself as a turtle dove searching for his mate.
Then Ben decided his self portrait was simply him taking off all his clothes and being literally naked in front of Tayshia and everybody else. That's not exactly a portrait in any sense of the word, but it made more sense when he and Tayshia got some alone time a little later. He told her that he used to suffer from an eating disorder and had issues with his body image, so taking off all his clothes was more significant than it first seemed.
Tayshia cried after all the self portraits, and eventually gave Ben the rose.
She then went on a date with Eazy that was really stretching the boundaries of fun dates to be had without leaving the resort, but it turned out pretty cute. They basically pretended they were in a haunted house and were following clues about the resort being haunted by the family of the oil baron who originally owned the land.
There was a lot of screaming as they happened upon creepy dolls and spooky noises, and it was very adorable, but things got most unexpected during dinner. Eazy professed that he was falling in love, and Tayshia was basically like you're cool, but I don't like you that way. He was sent home!
It seemed like a somewhat abrupt ending and he appeared to feel the same way, but Tayshia clearly had her mind made up.
She also had her mind made up about the fact that she's real tired of Noah and Bennett fighting, so before the next cocktail party, they were going to enjoy a dreaded two-on-one date. Bennett was pretty thrilled about this, and we later discovered it was because he was going to be able to give Noah a special present.
The special present was wrapped up in a really nice box with a bow and consisted of a series of items meant to remind Noah of the times they shared: a red bandana because of Bennett's cowboy days, mustache socks because mustaches only belong on feet (?) and a book about emotional intelligence, because Bennett believes Noah is lacking in three of the four tenets of emotional intelligence.
Bennett was allowed to go on about this for far too long before Tayshia finally arrived and had just one question: "What's in the box?!"
No one had an answer for her, because telling her that Bennett had gifted his enemy with a bandana, a pair of socks and a book would likely have sealed Bennett's fate. At least we hope, because that's weird, man!
We were left on a two-on-one cliffhanger, but at this point we'd be happy to see them both go. Seen the teenage boys home, girl. Send them home! But first make them show you what's in the box because we need to hear Bennett explain it again!
The Bachelorette airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.